"Underfoot in New York"

In the search for an exhibition project that I (graphic artist and painter) could easily transport “in the suitcase” during my New York stays between 1999 and 2005 to Berlin, I found under my feet this, mainly through their graphic design fascinating, round and square iron lids, whose function, symbols and letters as well as their history and manufacture made me curious.

These coalchute, handhole- and manholecovers were exactly what I thought of a New York-specific work project. So I started to rub the manhole cover on cotton from Broadway early in the morning, then work in the studio with graphite pens, in urban libraries and by asking to explore their signs and symbols, text/letters, origins, manufacturing in foundries and stylistic features since 1830 (time of the first street cover in NY).

AIn this way, I realized the obvious connection with the historical and economic Urban Development (Manhattan, Brooklyn). Of the approx. 120 collected frottage covers are the most interesting 70 covers with the dimensions 75x75 cm to 120x120 cm archived with the most important information: location on the map, time of the frottage, format, dimensions, design time, previously known foundries in the 19th century and contracting companies, framed and ready for exhibition. Each fabric cover is marked with the frottage date and the respective location. You can find it on the map (see document below). Only those that have not been stolen in the meantime are preserved in the documentation 1:1.


Big thank you to the co-author Dr. Frank Herdmann and Sandy Weiner for the many years of good cooperation.


UnderfootNY UnderfootNY













 „Underfoot in New York" Inspiration Underfoot in New York

 A Documentation Artistically Edited (english version)

 (german and english version)